Asian Markets Fall, Wall Street Bloodbath Continues Amid CDC Warning

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By Alex Ho – Asian markets fell on Wednesday in Asia as U.S. stocks continued to tumble after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning of an upcoming pandemic.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.6% by 10:50 PM ET (02:50 GMT) after Financial Secretary Paul Chansaid in the latest annual budget that the city’s economy is expected to range between a contraction of 1.5% and growth of 0.5%.

Chan also unveiled measures worth HK$120 billion ($15 billion)to support the economy that struggled with a coronavirus outbreak and months of anti-government protests.

China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.2%, while the SZSE Component dropped 1.4%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 extended its losses and slid 0.9% in morning trade.

South Korea’s KOSPI also lost 0.9%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 plunged 2.3%.

Overnight, U.S. stocks plunged for a second straight session after the CDC said coronavirus outbreak is likely to become a global pandemic as it continued to spread outside of China.

South Korean confirmed more than 900 cases, while Italy said there are more than 200 reported cases within the country’s borders. Iran also confirmed at least 12 deaths.

“Current global circumstances suggest it’s likely this virus will cause a pandemic,” Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters at a news briefing.

The CDC also said the it was “inevitable” that Covid-19 would spread in the U.S. and that Americans would face disruptions to their daily lives. That statement pushed stocks to their lows of the day in afternoon trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 879.44 points, while the S&P 500 slid 3% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.8%.

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